Today, we continue to profile companies that have been nominated for the prestigious 2012 Gleaner Honour Award. LIME has been nominated in the category sports.
Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
When one thinks about LIME, the first thing that comes to mind is telecommunications. The company was single-handedly responsible for transforming the telecoms landscape in Jamaica. There also is no question as to LIME's sterling contribution to sporting life in Jamaica. Despite the many changes that the telecommunications giant has undergone, from name to tag line, its contribution to sports has remained constant.
"As a responsible corporate entity, we know the immense social and economic value that sports has brought to the Jamaican people from the school, community, parish and national level," said LIME's Managing Director Garry Sinclair, who joined the company in March 2010 before ascending to the helm in October of the same year. "Our involvement, therefore, is to ensure that we become the facilitators of Jamaica's next moment of sporting greatness by funding those events that are likely to bring such accomplishments.
"It is our purpose to touch the lives of the people we serve in the most positive ways we can," said Sinclair, adding, "Sports development is one such vehicle through which our corporate philosophy can be fulfilled." A philosophy which they have pursued since 1883 when West India and Columbia Electric Company installed 50 telephone lines in Kingston.
The company was known as the Jamaica Telephone Company until April 1971 when it was rebranded Jamaica International Telecommunications Limited. In May 1987, it became Telecommunications of Jamaica, before undergoing another name change in 1998 when it was branded Cable & Wireless Jamaica. Cable & Wireless also operated mobile telecommunications under the bmobile brand from 2003 until rebranding them as LIME in 2008.
LIME, an acronym for 'Landline, Internet, Mobile, Entertainment', is owned by Britain-based Cable & Wireless Communications Public Limited Company, and is also listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange, with in excess of 24,000 Jamaicans holding shares.
In many quarters, the company has received recognition for its investment in the expansion of available telecoms services through the creation of infrastructure that is on par with the best anywhere. LIME has also made significant contribution to the social well-being of Jamaica. As a matter of fact, over the past 17 years, the company has donated in excess of $1 billion in cash and facilities to different areas of Jamaican life.
In 2003, the Cable & Wireless Jamaica Foundation (CWJF) was formed to act as a structured vehicle for the company's corporate giving. CWJF started out with $20 million, and focused on education and sports, which continued the company's long tradition of contributions in those areas.
One of the first major undertakings of the foundation was a contribution of approximately $30 million towards the staging of the 2003 Cable & Wireless World Netball Championships.
"The World Netball Championship in 2003 was a fabulous time in Jamaica's sporting history," Jamaica Netball Association President, Marva Bernard, said. "It brought the country together, it galvanised support around the ladies, and it is something that we will always be grateful to LIME for."
LIME was also the major sponsor of the Jamaican national netball team for the six years - between 2000 and 2005 - during which time they donated a team bus which is still in operation.
Over the past six years, LIME has contributed $60 million to the staging of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Championship. The championship acts as the cradle for track and field locally, and has given birth to a number of world beaters such as Olympic champions Usain Bolt and Veronica Campbell-Brown.
"Champs is a costly venture, so any sponsor that comes on board and gives us a substantial sum is in no small manner assisting with the development of track and field in Jamaica," said George Forbes, competition director of ISSA. "LIME has been a good corporate citizen, and they help in whatever manner they see fit. It has been a mutually beneficial partnership."
Sinclair sees partnerships such as these as the company's way of positively contributing to another leg in the country's long history of sporting glory.
"Take, for example, the heightened revelry and enthusiasm at Champs; I feel more than self- and corporate gratification to know that LIME made a significant contribution towards putting a smile on the faces of enthusiastic supporters," Sinclair shared.
LIME, which gave approximately $16 million to the Jamaica Football Association towards the 1998 and 2002 World Cup campaigns, continues to play a significant role in the development of football. The company, in 2010, forged a three-year partnership with the St Catherine Football Association to sponsor their six leagues and youth programme to the tune of $75 million.
The sponsorship, which includes execution costs and sponsorship fees, has transformed football in St Catherine, which has seen for the first time a parish's major league final being televised, live.
"The profile of St Catherine football has lifted significantly," St Catherine FA president, Peter Reid, stated. "I think St Catherine football was a diamond in the rough, until LIME came and allowed us to shine brightly."
Contributions to cricket
The company, which was incorporated in Jamaica under the Companies Law in 1982, has also made significant contributions to cricket, as up to 2004, they were the major sponsors of the West Indies Cricket team, with average annual support of $30 million. In 2007, the company also put forward another $30 million towards the staging of the International Cricket Council World Cup in the West Indies.
In spite of the emergence of competitors such as Digicel (largest mobile competitor) in 2001 and Columbus Communications (brand name Flow) in 2006, which in recent years, has impacted LIME's profit levels locally, the company continues to contribute significantly to sports. In 2010, they penned a $30 million, three-year sponsorship deal with the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association. Since 2009, the company has had a $20 million four-year deal with the Jamaica Golf Association/Jamaica Open, as well as a three-year sponsorship deal with the INSPORTS/Primary Football League worth $90 million, since 2011.